annulled, Wheaton family law attorneysIf you are married and the marriage is not living up to what you hoped it would be, you may be interested in getting your marriage annulled. In Illinois, annulments are rarely granted, and only individuals who meet certain criteria will be granted an annulment by the court. For married individuals who do not qualify for an annulment, a divorce may be the only option for ending the marriage. Depending on the individual’s needs, a legal separation may also be an appropriate choice. Read on to learn the difference between separation, divorce, and annulment in Illinois and how you can get the legal help you need to end your marriage.

Annulment Cancels an Invalid Marriage

When a married couple gets a divorce, the marriage is ended. On the other hand, when a married couple gets their marriage annulled, it is as if the marriage never occurred because the marriage was not legally valid to begin with. In Illinois, annulments are called “Declarations of Invalidity of Marriage.” There are several issues that can cause a marriage to be invalidated including:

  • The marriage is prohibited by law because the spouses are closely related to each other or because a spouse was already married when the marriage was performed
  • Either spouse was under age 18 and did not have the required parental authorization to marry
  • One of the spouses is unable to have sexual intercourse and the other spouse was unaware of this incapacity at the time the marriage was made official
  • A spouse could not consent to the marriage at the time the marriage was made official due to mental incapacity or the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Either spouse entered into the marriage through fraud, force, or duress

If you wish to pursue a Declaration of Invalidity, you should know that certain statutes of limitation might affect your eligibility.

Legal Separation Can Offer Some of the Same Benefits as Divorce

Some individuals seek an annulment instead of a divorce because of religious or cultural reasons. In these circumstances, a legal separation may be an alternative choice. If a couple gains a legal separation, they are still technically married but they agree to live separately. A legal separation also grants the spouses many of the legal remedies that are also available through divorce including those related to parenting arrangements, child support, and spousal maintenance.

Contact a Wheaton Annulment Lawyer

Getting an annulment is much more complicated than it appears on television and movies. To learn whether or not your marriage qualifies for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case by calling us at 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Annulments, DuPage County Divorce Lawyer | Tagged , , , , |

parenting time, DuPage County family lawyersWhen you and your child’s other parent are forced to come up with arrangements regarding for parenting time—previously known as visitation under Illinois law—it can be regrettably easy to get caught up in your own wants and needs. Some, of course, are entirely reasonable, such as building parenting time schedules around your career obligations, but many parents often forget to take their child’s wishes into account.

What the Law Says

While parents are encouraged to develop a parenting plan—including arrangements for parenting time—on their own, such a plan must be reasonable and serve the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, arrangements may be made by the court. In doing so, the court is required by law to take a number of factors into account, including the wishes of the child in question. The child’s wishes are not necessarily binding but should factor into the court’s ultimate decision. Your son or daughter’s opinion is just one of many factors that the court will take into account during the process.

Your Child’s Understanding

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) specifies that a child’s wishes should be considered in the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time proceedings. The law also provides, however, that the court must consider the child’s maturity and ability to understand the entire situation. A young child, for example, is likely to hold an opinion regarding which parent is more “fun,” and want to spend more time at that parent’s house. An older child, on the other hand, is more likely to understand the importance of fostering a healthy relationship with both parents and be more open to compromise.

Presenting Your Child’s Wishes

It is highly unlikely that your child will be asked to appear in open court to discuss his or her wishes regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities. Instead, the law provides that such conversations may be conducted as interviews in the judge’s chambers, with or without attorneys present based on the circumstances of the case. Alternatively, the court may seek the assistance of an outside professional to interview the child and prepare a report regarding the child’s wishes. In more contentious cases, the court may order an investigation or appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the best interests of the child are fully protected.

Work With a Knowledgeable Wheaton Parenting Time Lawyer

Your child’s opinion does matter in proceeding regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in Illinois. Such cases, however, are often complex and require guidance from a qualified legal professional. If you are involved in a parenting time dispute, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC today.


Posted in Child Custody | Tagged , , , , , |

parenting plan, Wheaton child custody lawyerDivorcing parents in Illinois must submit a parenting plan or parenting agreement to the courts. The plan must explain how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be allocated to the parents and include other important child-related decisions. Parents are encouraged to create their own parenting plan, but parents cannot always come to an agreement about the issues addressed in the parenting plan. In these cases, the court will step in and assign a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests, called an allocation judgment. If the parents need to make a post-decree change to their parenting plan, they will need to do so through the family court system.

Changing a Court-Ordered Parenting Schedule

Any change to the final divorce decree is called a post-decree modification. Divorced individuals cannot make a post-decree modification for just any reason. Although it is still sometimes referred to as “child custody,” Illinois uses the phrase “parental responsibilities” to refer to a parent’s decision-making authority and parenting schedule. You may request a modification to the court order allocating parental decision-making responsibilities if it has been two years after the order was established. However, the court may grant a modification before two years if there is reason to believe that the current child custody arrangements may endanger the child’s health or emotional development. Parenting time, formerly called visitation, may be revised if there is a substantial change in circumstances that requires a change to serve the best interests of the child.

A substantial change in circumstances could include a move by one parent to another city or state or either parent getting a new job. If the child or either parent suffers a severe injury or is diagnosed with a serious medical condition, this could also qualify as a substantial change in circumstances.

Parents may modify a parenting schedule if they have been abiding by a new parenting schedule for more than six months and want to make their new parenting schedule the official parenting schedule. If parents only want to make minor changes to the parenting schedule, they may not need to show evidence of a major change in circumstances in order to be granted a modification. Lastly, a parenting schedule may be eligible for modification if the previous schedule was based on misinformation. If the court would not have authorized the current parenting schedule had all of the relevant facts been known, the court may rectify the parenting plan to reflect the actual circumstances.

Contact a Wheaton Child Custody Lawyer

For help with making modifications to an existing child custody order, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. To schedule a confidential consultation, call our office at 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Child Custody, Children | Tagged , , , , |